Nick Taylor Continues To Lead After Round 2 At AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

BC's Nick Taylor Is Still On Top Of The Leaderboard At The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Heading Into The Weekend - File Photo

By Alfie Lau

The bad news for Abbotsford’s Nick Taylor is he made his first bogey of the week on his 30th hole. The good news – and there’s a lot of good news – is that he made 7 birdies on a Chamber of Commerce day at Pebble Beach en route to a (-6) round of 66 and he now sits at (-14) for the tournament and a two-shot lead over Jason Day and three shots ahead of Phil Mickelson.

Taylor’s birdies came at 2, 3, 6, 14, 15, 17 and 18, the final four a massive comeback after his lone bogey of the week. “12 was a really good bogey save that kind of kept my round together, ‘said Taylor. “I hit some quality shots coming in so it was nice to capitalize coming in.”

His final two holes were the exclamation marks on a solid round. His approach to 17 stopped 6 feet underneath the hole and he calmly stroked in the birdie. On 18, he hit his drive right of the big tree in the fairway, laid up on his second, wedged on 20 feet underneath the hole and stroked in his seventh birdie of the day.

“I played pretty solid tee to green and rolled some really nice putts in today,” said Taylor. “It was nice to get off to a really good start . . . and I made some really nice putts coming in the last five holes.”

When Taylor finished his round, he was run through the ringer of media interviews. From Golf Channel to Sky Sports to PGA TOUR Entertainment to PGA TOUR Radio to Sirius XM, he finally made his way to the media centre to rehash what he had already said five other ways.

But to get a different perspective on Taylor’s round, how about his amateur playing partners, two of the biggest movers and shakers in the golf industry. Taylor’s amateur partner is Golf Digest editor-in-chief Jerry Tarde, and after contributing nothing to their team score Thursday, Tarde got his short game going and got his team three extra shots, and they sit high up in the amateur leaderboard at (-17).

“He’s so calm,” Tarde said of his Abbotsford partner. “I guess you can be calm when you’re playing so well. “The last two days, his distance control has been perfect. His iron shots have been pin high and he had this magic 4-hybrid which he seems to hit a lot and it’s really dialed in for these two rounds.”

Tarde said he has enjoyed talking with Taylor about many subjects outside of golf, everything from the publishing business to the business world. “He’s a curious guy, he has a curious mind,” said Tarde. “And there’s such a solidity to his game. Nothing fazes him.”

And perhaps the greatest compliments come from David Abeles, CEO of TaylorMade, who is playing in Taylor’s group with Beau Hossler as his professional. “He’s exceptional, “said Abeles. “I’ve known Nick for a while, but this is the first time I’ve had a chance to play with him this week. He has been just tremendous. I’m really starting to get to know him personally and not only is he playing really well, I’m finding out how good a person he really is.”

Perhaps Taylor should file this away for the next time he needs to negotiate a new deal with TaylorMade. Taylor was the lone bright spot amongst the five Canadians in the field at Pebble Beach.
With one round before the cut is made Saturday afternoon, the other 4 will have a lot of work to do.

Abbotsford’s Adam Hadwin improved by five strokes during his second round at Monterey Peninsula, but sits at even par after 36 holes. That is tied with Ontario’s Michael Gligic, who shot his second consecutive even par round. Ontario’s Mackenzie Hughes shot even par at Spyglass Hill, and is now (+2) for the tournament. Three strokes further back is Brantford, ON’s David Hearn, who is at (+5) after 36 holes.

In perhaps the saddest story at Pebble Beach, former World No. 1 and British Open champion David Duval finally withdrew from the tournament after going (+24) in just 32 holes of play. Duval had opened with a (+12) round of 84 at Pebble Beach Thursday and was on track to go even worse than that at Spyglass Hill when he pulled the plug.

His second round scores magically disappeared from the PGA TOUR website, but during a quick perusal of his card before that, we noticed Duval had just one par on the front nine, the rest an orange and red mess of bogeys and double bogeys. Interestingly enough, the PGA TOUR website does show that the team of Duval and amateur partner Richard Daly finished their round at Spyglass, carding a (+6) round in the team competition to sit at (+8) and last place.

It was a beautiful sunny day for most of Friday at Pebble Beach, but by the end of the round, a layer of cold, misty cloud had descended on the Monterey Peninsula. And the forecast, courtesy of Abbotsford weather forecaster Nick Taylor is this: “Forecast is a bit of wind tomorrow, so Spyglass, there will be some challenging holes out by the water, but that’s probably the toughest golf course of the three, so I’ll just keep my head down and try to make some birdies.”

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